(Originally posted October 5th, 2016)
Well, they are both art forms. They both revolve around creating a communication, though only one ends in literal digestion. But I mean beyond that.
I’ve been around this blogging thing for a few years now, and occasionally I’ll come across cooking related posts from a blog predominately focused on writing. And for a while, I found that strange. I know people can have, must have, other interests outside of the written word, but it is almost always cooking they bring up on their blogs. Not an eclectic mix of things. Sure there are some outliers, but the amount of culinary fixation was odd.
Not anymore. Because as I cook more and more, I see how the act of making food is like writing in so many ways.
I know I already said they were both a form of art, but once you know the basics of how to cook a dish (and you have access to a lot of ingredients) the urge to tamper with things is high. You can make big sweeping changes on a whim, and the result is something tangible—if impermanent.
It Goes Places You Would Not Expect.
I make steaks. I will go so far as to brag I make good steaks. Though not, perhaps, traditionally healthy steaks with what I do to them. But between butter, salt, garlic, pepper, steak sauce, and the tiniest addition of hot sauce, I create a steak that makes eyes widen with hunger. (The trick is to burn the steak sauce while coating the steak with it. Terrible for frying pans. Great for tongues.)
And you know what? Like listening to what your characters want to do, and following that, cooking can go in so many directions.
There’s A Satisfaction To The End Result.
When I first printed out the early draft of my novel, I could not begin to explain what joy the act of holding it as a physical object brought. And cooking can be the same. Taking the scoop of something you boiled, baked, or fried, and placing it on a plate is so satisfying. Compounded by the fact you get to eat it afterward.
You Can Bring Joy To Others.
The moan of a meal well enjoyed, the plate licked clean because you got just the right sauce mix: it feels so validating. Like a reader feeling an epiphany from a written piece of work, knowing someone derived pleasure from cooking is huge.
And I could name other similarities, like the mental balancing act required for multiple dishes, and the fact of how easy it is to break something if you tamper too much, but this article is only supposed to be so long, so I’ll leave you with a few questions:
Do you like to cook? Are you a writer who also likes to cook? Do you think one art predisposed you to enjoying the other? I’d love to hear!